After a long period of rumor and speculation, Quentin Tarantino's "Hell Ride" has finally received the green light. According to longtime Tarantino collaborator and leading man Michael Madsen, who is set to star in the movie, Tarantino just recently received the good news. "It's a motorcycle picture," Madsen reported, squinting and rasping in his trademark style. The film, which Tarantino will produce, was written and will be directed by actor Larry Bishop. "He was the one in the [strip] club [in 'Kill Bill 2'] who tells me to take my hat off," Madsen said. "Hell Ride" will be "reminiscent of the '70s, those motorcycle pictures they made with Joe Namath; the really bad B-movie motorcycle movies," he continued. "We're gonna make it like that, but in modern times, with that kind of idea behind it. I think that's what makes it fun." The project, a revenge-fueled tale of three "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"-type characters, is slated begin filming soon. ...

U2's Bono recently filmed his largest movie role yet in "Across the Universe," an upcoming musical romance powered by classic Beatles music and starring Evan Rachel Wood ("Thirteen"). The superstar (who previously appeared in a blink-and-you-missed-it cameo in "Million Dollar Hotel") plays Dr. Robert, a spiritual character who delivers several of the movie's pivotal lines before belting out "I Am the Walrus." Currently in production, the film is due in theaters in 2006. No word yet on whether the filmmakers were able to make the U2 frontman take off his sunglasses for the role. ...

Fans of such Christopher Guest-powered classics as "Waiting for Guffman" have had to patiently occupy themselves for a while now by playing with their "My Dinner With Andre" action figures and "Remains of the Day" lunchboxes; soon, however, they'll have "For Your Consideration" to keep them entertained. "It will be similar in the sense that it's the same cast, but our little cast has grown from seven in 'Waiting for Guffman' to 20 now for this one," beamed Eugene Levy. "[It will be] different in that it's not a documentary; it's kind of a straight narrative story. Same kind of style, but it's not a documentary to speak of." Levy reports that although the structure of "Consideration" (which centers on an award-worthy film production) departs from such Guest productions as "A Mighty Wind" and "Best in Show," it will retain the same improv-heavy style: "We do everything the same way. All the dialogue is improvised, and it's about a movie within a movie, so there is a lot of scripted stuff in the movie, but the style is exactly the same." The film is due in theaters late next year — just in time for awards season. ...

"I don't want to offend any filmmakers, but I've signed on to two movies in my career without seeing the script," admitted Mark Wahlberg, shamefully 'fessing to past mistakes. "[Now], it's all about the script. ... I'm only making movies now that I want to see, or that I think that people want to see me in." Wahlberg will start with the highly anticipated "The Brazilian Job," a heist movie sequel that was held up itself while writer David Twohy ("Pitch Black") put together the finishing touches. "A lot of people really liked ['The Italian Job'], and a lot of movie sequels don't live up to the original, so we want to make it as good, or better; and we're all patient," Wahlberg added. "Charlize [Theron] and everybody is in, so we're just waiting for the right script. Hopefully, I think, probably around summertime we're gonna film it." ...

With "King Kong" demolishing box-office records worldwide, you knew it was just a matter of time before someone spoofed the phenomenon. Sure enough, February's "Date Movie" will do exactly that, with Carmen Electra playing the Naomi Watts-parodying role of damsel in distress. "In this movie I am spoofing a scene where I'm tied up; I'm completely tied up and we used a blue screen, which was really weird because you have to react to a King Kong that's not there," laughed Electra, who said the experience gave her a whole new appreciation for Watts. "There was this little X that I had to react to and scream; it was exhausting. It took all day to shoot, and it was just so hard, I couldn't believe. I can't imagine shooting an entire movie that way." ...

The Mandy Moore/ Diane Keaton comedy "Because I Said So" has added several key actors and has begun filming in Los Angeles. Lauren Graham ("Gilmore Girls"), Piper Perabo (the "Cheaper by the Dozen" films), Tom Everett Scott ("Van Wilder") and Gabriel Macht ("The Recruit") have joined the film, about a mother (Keaton) and her mission to set her daughter (Moore) up with Mr. Right. Directed by Michael Lehmann ("Heathers"), the movie is targeting a 2006 release. ...

Steve Zahn ("Sahara") has been answering questions lately about an odd-looking movie trailer that's floating around the Internet, and he just wants to set the record straight once and for all: "Yes, it's my ass," he laughed, referring to a quick glimpse of his naked rear end in the ad for "Bandidas," a "Desperado"-looking action comedy starring Penélope Cruz and Salma Hayek. "I go down to Mexico to capture them, because they're robbing banks," Zahn said of the film, due in February. "They capture me, and then I join ranks with them, because I find out it's for the good of the people, and then we go rob banks together. It's really funny." The trailer also implies that the ass-bearing may lead to some sort of sexy three-way encounter, but Zahn regretfully reported that the scene is much more innocent. "It's more like schoolgirl crushes on the ridiculous detective from New York with the ass," he grinned. "It's not as hot with a hundred grips around, and you're naked for three days. It's not that sexy; it's a PG movie."

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